Politics: Russians threaten to suspend inspections under START
Image Credit: Mita Stetskovski via Flickr
Published by: Dan Calabrese on Tuesday March 11th, 2014
The ’80s called. It wants its nuclear freeze movement back.
Remember this: Barack Obama is the guy who mocked Mitt Romney for calling Russia our main geopolitical adversary. Also remember this: For a guy who thinks the ’80s are long gone, Obama sure was gung ho to kick-start arms control talks with the Russians. You remember the days when Walter Mondale carped that Ronald Reagan wasn’t talking to the Russkies about a new deal to rid the world of the scourge of nuclear weapons? This was a big liberal theme in those days.
Obama couldn’t wait. First he had Hillary trot out that clever re-set button. Then he set the stage by cancelling U.S. plans to install missile shields in Poland and the Czech Republic, thus proving American goodwill to our pal Putin. And of course, we all know that he was assuring Putin of his “flexibility” wink-wink-nod-nod once he could get past that pesky election.
Just over a year after he took office, Obama joined Dmitri Medvedev in signing the new START treaty, which requires both signatories to reduce by half its missile launchers. Some of us recalled that arms control deals with the Russians have been understood to be the product of left-wing delusion since – oh, the 1980s or so – because the Russians can’t be trusted. Thus, liberal presidents who pursue these pipedreams inevitably end up looking foolish.
The Obama Administration’s mismanagement of relations with Russia failed to prevent Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Now, in response to the Administration’s plans to sanction the Russians responsible for the invasion, Moscow is threatening to suspend inspections of its nuclear forces—inspections that are mandated by the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). For once, however, Moscow’s belligerence might actually advance America’s national interests.
New START is flawed beyond repair, and places Washington at a considerable geopolitical disadvantage. Therefore, the U.S. should withdraw from the treaty immediately—regardless of whether Russia continues with the mandated inspections. In fact, Representatives Trent Franks (R–AZ) and Doug Lamborn (R–CO) make a similar case in a recent Moscow Times op-ed.
For a number of reasons, the New START inspections are of scant relevance to the United States:
- Washington’s information on Russia’s strategic build-up comes from America’s existing national technical means and intelligence means; New START provides little new data.
- New START accords Russia several “special” inspections that involve only the examination of U.S. sites; and
- The U.S. is responsible for the vast majority of New START strategic nuclear weapons reductions, while Russia is allowed to increase its own nuclear forces.
In fact, shortly after New START entered into force, Russia announced the most extensive nuclear weapons modernization program since the end of the Cold War. Meanwhile, the U.S. nuclear weapons infrastructure continues to atrophy.
Just a reminder that the Russians didn’t just start taking Obama for a fool. They’ve been doing it throughout his presidency. And why not? He made it clear from the from get-go that he was more than willing to make whatever concessions Putin wanted in order to avoid confrontation with Russia, because his real interest was in socializing heath care and exploding spending domestically.
Negotiate an “arms control” deal and you get plaudits from the MSM, who will help you claim that you achieved something on the national security front. Then you turn away from global leadership entirely and focus on more relevant matters, like sicking the IRS on your political enemies.
This was inevitable. The Russians make a deal. The Russians come up with a pretext for violating the deal. America looks foolish. At least as long as America is laboring under leadership that doesn’t understand anything about geopolitics, and really doesn’t even care to know.
Dan is in training for ministry, and writes regularly about matters of spiritual victory and national renewal (OK . . . and baseball too) at DanCalabreseBooks.com, where you can also get his series of Christian spiritual thrillers – Powers and Prinicipalities, Pharmakeia and Dark Matter. Follow all of Dan’s work by liking his page on Facebook.